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COVID-19 hurting those suffering from food insecurity

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Posted at 4:36 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 19:07:14-04

FORT GREENE, Brooklyn — Food insecurity is not something new for many families in New York City but it is getting worse because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s really stressful,” said Carmen Soltero, a 41-year-old mother of eight. “More times than others it is just not knowing,” she added.

Soletero is a single mother of eight children, ranging in age from one to 23, all living together at the Whitman House in Fort Greene.

Having just recently lost her job because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Carmen worries every day about how she will feed her family, particularly her little ones, three under the age of 12.

“I don’t cook as big as I use to,” Soltero told PIX11 through zoom. “I try to serve usual number of meals and snacks, they're just a little smaller,” she added.

An alarming new survey by the Brookings Institute after the COVID-19 outbreak found that among mothers with young children, nearly one in five say their kids are not getting enough to eat.

You can see it in the long lines of cars in Newark waiting for food donations or food lines in Bridgeport. It’s a rate three times as high as in 2008, during the worst of the Great Recession.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is bringing together upstate farmers with a surplus and downstate New York City families in his Nourish New York Initiative.

“We have a funding effort to connect farmers upstate to downstate with a $25 million dollar initiative."

At Medgar Evers College, while the campus is closed, the food pantry is open and feeding more than 500 families.

“The food banks are running out of food but I hope I can continue to keep Medgar Evers food pantry open once a week,” Waleek Boone, the student life specialist at the Transition Academy, told PIX11 News.

If you’d like to find out more about food pantries in your area, go to this website. If you’d like to make a donation, head here.